PITTSBURGH (AP) - President Barack Obama is pressing for passage of his full $447 billion jobs package in the face of certain congressional defeat while embracing more modest administrative remedies to the nation's sluggish economy and unwaveringly high unemployment.
Continuing his personal campaign for the legislation, Obama was touring a union training facility in Pittsburgh Tuesday, making a plea for support of his legislation in a state crucial to his re-election bid. At the same time, the Senate was scheduled to vote on whether to proceed to the legislation - a step that would require a 60-vote supermajority that was beyond reach.
Eager to demonstrate that his administration was nevertheless taking steps to ease the economic crunch, Obama planned to join his presidential jobs council of corporate and labor leaders in Pittsburgh as they unveiled a report calling for sweeping and urgent changes in government policies. The White House also was announcing steps to speed up environmental and other regulatory approvals for 14 public works projects across the country.
Obama also planned to meet with unemployed construction workers while in Orlando, Fla., where he was to attend two political fundraisers later in the day.
In a 50 page report, Obama Council on Jobs and Competitiveness is laying out a series of policy overhauls sure to please and irritate Democratic and Republican partisans alike, from liberalized immigration and greater spending on infrastructure to less restrictive regulations and a more business-friendly tax system.
Topping the council's list is a plea for improvements in the nation's network of roads and bridges, for airport upgrades and modernized ports, and for updated electric grids, water and wastewater systems.
"If Washington can agree on anything, it should be this - and it should be now," the report states.
The 27-member jobs council is headed by General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt, and includes AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, AOL co-founder Steve Case and Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.
The report carefully avoids taking a stand on Obama's $447 billion jobs package. Instead, it offers recommendations that are bound to meet resistance from one party or the other.
The president, however, will probably find comfort in the report's demand for new infrastructure. His jobs bill proposes spending $30 billion to modernize schools and $50 billion on road and bridge projects.